Once more, creator Dan Harmon (Community) utilizes his intergalactic grandpa and grandson duo to provide some pop culture intertextuality to its fans. Season five of Adult Swim’s hit animated series Rick and Morty premiered on Sunday, June 20 with another episode layered in film parody and butterfly effects. The premiere left fans and viewers with one feeling: Rick and Morty Day is back and ready to roll.
Kicking off with a disastrous end to an unknown mission, the titular characters are seen making a narrow escape before potentially encountering an imminent death. This near-death experience leads to Morty building up the courage to tell his long-time crush Jessica his feelings and is able to land a date for that night upon crashing into the ocean. However, this does not leave the episode without an adventure as the audience is introduced to Rick’s nemesis Mr. Nimbus who controls the ocean, and apparently the police as well.
“Mort Dinner Rick Andre” takes a play on the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre which was previously parodied by Harmon in his last sitcom Community and its episode “Critical Film Studies.” The episode introduces the audience to the fifth season and paws at its renowned ability to formulate unique new character arcs for its toxic animated characters. The episode shows Morty gaining more confidence in himself and willing to take strides in comparison to Rick demonstrating a growing reception for his care and love for his grandson despite his abrasive tone towards him. Furthermore, Jerry and Beth begin to show signs of their development with their relationship through sex positivity, although audiences are still debating whether this is a clone of Beth rather than the real version of Rick’s daughter.
The dinner between Mr. Nimbus (voiced by Harmon) and Rick (voiced by co-creator Justin Roiland, Solar Opposites) offers a small glimpse into Rick’s past, often shuttered away in the show’s canon. Mirroring the film and its various Harmon parodies, the dinner provides some context of Rick’s past and how he views himself in the modern-day world as an individual. Furthermore, Morty, also voiced by Roiland, engages with the desperate attempts to please loved ones, whether this be his grandfather or Jessica during their first day. As a result, Morty ultimately screws up, as Rick proclaims he always does, and inadvertently causes a “Narnia-like” society to fixate itself and its development on the destruction of Morty.
In typical Rick and Morty fashion, its episodes deal with nihilistic intentions and the inability to harness and control one’s free will due to altering timelines and the multiverse. “Mort Dinner Rick Andre” provides a jumpstart for another exciting season of the successful Adult Swim program with potential for Rick to grow and Morty continuing his quest for independence from others impacting his choices and actions.